KURT ZOUMA expects to stay at Chelsea – but admits he needs regular football for his Euro dream next summer.
The Chelsea centre-back, 24, says he is a better all-round player after a successful loan at Everton, who would love him back at Goodison Park for another campaign.
2 Kurt Zouma is set to stay at Chelsea this season but wants first-team footballCredit: Getty – Contributor
He has spoken to Frank Lampard and as it stands the Frenchman reckons it is likely he will be at
Stamford Bridge when the transfer window shuts in just over a fortnight.
But Lamps himself insists Zouma’s happiness is his priority, even if he wants him in his squad.
Zouma said: “It is true that I enjoyed my time at Everton but I’m a Chelsea player and we’ll see what will happen in the end.
“I think it will be here at Chelsea – I want to do well in pre-season and get my chance here – but the most important thing is to work and to prepare for the season very well.”
Zouma has needed to fight his way back into the reckoning for the world champions after his serious knee injury in 2016.
He was also on loan at Stoke when they were relegated but felt the move to Merseyside improved him while under Marco Silva.
It is true that I enjoyed my time at Everton but I’m a Chelsea player – I want to do well in pre-season and get my chance here
Zouma said: “It was a very good season for me made some good friends, and I enjoyed my time there with the manager as well. It was very good for my development.
“After my injury I was ready to play week-in week-out and getting used to playing regularly.
“I feel I am a better player. Everything has improved in my game – tactically and technically as a defender with my positioning. I still have a lot to learn and to work on but I feel I have done a lot since my injury and I’m very happy with it.”
Zouma was not picked for the World Cup but was back in the fold last season.
He said: “It is very important. It was one of my targets to get into the France team. I had been there before and wanted to come back.
“I managed to do that which made me very happy. Now the target is to play at the Euros next year but to be there you have to be playing at your club.
"That is why I’m working very hard in pre-season.”
Lampard also has Chelsea’s return to the Champions League to plan and the Fifa transfer ban means his hands are tied in the window.
He has David Luiz, Andreas Christensen competing for a place and Antonio Rudiger coming back from injury – and insisted he wanted Zouma to stay if he is happy to.
Zouma added: “I’m happy with what the manager said about me. That means he is seeing the work I’m doing and I’m very pleased with that.
“We had a chat at the beginning of pre-season and he was very good with me.
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“There are a lot of players here and a lot of quality at the club and everyone is working hard in the games and the training sessions so we just need to keep going like this.
“The players are good and there is lots of quality but he can only play with two. The manager has to make the choice but he is very lucky because he only has good players.
“It will be hard for him to make that choice but that is what we’re here for and why we are working hard.”
2 Frank Lampard has insisted Zouma's happiness is his priorityCredit: Getty – Contributor